On December 3, the ACLU-NJ and the national ACLU filed a complaint against the Department of Corrections (DOC) on behalf of an ordained Pentecostal minister. Our client had been preaching and actively participating in worship services for more than a decade before the DOC banned all preaching by prisoners without justification. His preaching did not cause any security incidents, and the prison's chaplaincy staff had actively supported Thompson and encouraged him to spread his deeply held message of faith. The complaint seeks relief under the free exercise clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Current Status:In November 2009, state prison officials in New Jersey agreed to restore Thompson's right to preach at weekly worship services and teach Bible study classes.